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Airplane Flying Handbook
Approaches and Landings
180° Power-Off Approach

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures




The 180° power-off approach is executed by gliding
with the power off from a given point on a downwind
leg to a preselected landing spot. [Figure 8-27] It is an
extension of the principles involved in the 90° power off
approach just described. Its objective is to further
develop judgment in estimating distances and glide
ratios, in that the airplane is flown without power from
a higher altitude and through a 90° turn to reach the
base-leg position at a proper altitude for executing the
90° approach.

The 180° power-off approach requires more planning
and judgment than the 90° power-off approach. In the
execution of 180° power-off approaches, the airplane
is flown on a downwind heading parallel to the landing
runway. The altitude from which this type of approach
should be started will vary with the type of airplane,
but it should usually not exceed 1,000 feet above the
ground, except with large airplanes. Greater accuracy
in judgment and maneuvering is required at higher

When abreast of or opposite the desired landing spot,
the throttle should be closed and altitude maintained
while decelerating to the manufacturer's recommended
glide speed, or 1.4 VSO. The point at which the throttle
is closed is the downwind key position.

The turn from the downwind leg to the base leg should
be a uniform turn with a medium or slightly steeper
bank. The degree of bank and amount of this initial
turn will depend upon the glide angle of the airplane
and the velocity of the wind. Again, the base leg should
be positioned as needed for the altitude, or wind condition.
Position the base leg to conserve or dissipate
altitude so as to reach the desired landing spot.
The turn onto the base leg should be made at an altitude
high enough and close enough to permit the
airplane to glide to what would normally be the
base key position in a 90° power-off approach.

Although the key position is important, it must not be
overemphasized nor considered as a fixed point on
the ground. Many inexperienced pilots may gain a
conception of it as a particular landmark, such as a
tree, crossroad, or other visual reference, to be
reached at a certain altitude. This will result in a
mechanical conception and leave the pilot at a total
loss any time such objects are not present. Both altitude
and geographical location should be varied as
much as is practical to eliminate any such conception.
After reaching the base key position, the approach and
landing are the same as in the 90° power-off approach.

180° power-off approach.
Figure 8-27. 180° power-off approach.